Prominent Iraqi cleric Muqtada al-Sadr has called upon Iraqi people to stage a two-day walkout along with a hunger strike in protest at what he calls Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s failure to properly fight against corruption and misappropriation of public funds.
Sadr, in a statement released by his office on Friday, urged his supporters and government employees, except members of security personnel, to strike on Sunday and Monday.
The 43-year-old cleric added that those employees who will go on the strike must stage a sit-in in front of their government offices and only work in emergency cases.
Sadr also called on all Iraqi people to go on hunger strike inside mosques, churches and other houses of worship, as well as in cultural and social institutions, from September 9 until the morning of September 11.
Over the past few months, hundreds of Iraqis have been gathering at Tahrir (Liberation) Square in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, and elsewhere in the country every Friday, urging the containment of quote corruption and also the formation of a technocrat government in the country.
The establishment of such a government has been stalled by persisting differences among various Iraqi political factions.
Baghdad witnessed uproarious protests in July, when demonstrators, mostly the supporters of Sadr, rallied against what was described as rampant corruption within the country’s ruling structure. A large number of people were killed or injured during the rallies.
Earlier in May, Sadr’s followers broke into the parliament compound inside the capital’s fortified Green Zone, protesting a stalled vote to endorse Abadi’s ministerial nominees in the chamber.
Later, however, they stormed Abadi’s own office building, also in the Green Zone, apparently in protest at government corruption.
On May 20, Abadi called on the nation to set aside political differences and unite against the Takfiri Daesh terrorist group, which has been ravaging the country since June 2014.